I always look forward to island hopping whenever I'm in Visayas. I enjoy bringing out the Ariel of The Little Mermaid in me with snorkling gear and life vest in tow. And one of my favorite spots to date is the Virgin Island in Panglao, Bohol.
Hello, Virgin Island, Panglao.
This small island is far from the Virgin Island of Bantayan Island. It doesn't have the hipster vibe of the latter. There are no hammocks, cottages, washroom, benches or tables in sight. It is indeed what a virgin island should be... pure.
Several visitors will drop by to be immersed in a place untainted by civilization.
Aside from the Virgin Island signage, there are only two vendors selling seafood and fresh buco and a handful of vendors selling pearls. Since I'm not fond of jewelry, I zeroed in on seafood.
Only a handful are available--sea urchin, sea cucumber and a bunch of shelled fish-- which they could cook adobo style for you.
And one of the things I love about the province is that sea urchin's super affordable. We got five sea urchins for just PHP100 or PHP20 each! Not bad at all.
We also got abalones for PHP50 a piece and had it cooked adobo style. But we realized that it would have been better raw and just drizzled with calamansi.
We also got one fresh buco for PHP50.
Since we came in a small boat, we decided to eat our roasted chicken and steamed prawns there. And the seafood vendor was nice enough to let us use a portion of his prep table.
Though this is often visited or included in island hopping, I was impressed with how the locals keep the place as clean as possible. And the vendors sure know how to speak Chinese! This is enough to prove that several Chinese tourists visit Panglao. (I have to admit, I was a bit envious because I could only say three phrases in Chinese.)
True, there's nothing much to see in this island and all you can do here are to eat and buy pearls. But there are times when I just want to spend time in places like this... away from the chaos of Manila. My short stay here definitely recharged me and I'd love to drop by again for more sea urchin and abalone.
Till next time!